Many women experience internal bleeding after labor, or postpartum hemorrhaging, after giving birth to a child. While this bleeding can often be vaginal and/or external, sometimes it is internal, posing an immediate threat to the mother’s life and wellbeing. Internal bleeding can occur after a vaginal delivery or a delivery via cesarean section and can have serious consequences for the woman, leading to shock, uterine removal or death.
How Internal Bleeding after Labor Happens
Postpartum hemorrhaging can happen for a variety of reasons. Some factors, including a multiple pregnancy or uterine fibroids, can predispose a woman to this bleeding before labor even begins. Other times, the hemorrhaging results from child birth delivery issues.
Causes of internal bleeding after labor include:
- uterine atony, when the uterine muscles fail to contract after delivery;
- vaginal or cervical tears;
- retained placental fragments;
- placenta previa, in which the placenta attaches itself to the uterus, blocking part of the cervix;
- placenta accreta, when the placenta attaches itself to the uterus wall and becomes abnormally firm;
- uterine rupture, when a woman’s previous cesarean scar ruptures;
- tissue laceration, often caused by the use of forceps or vacuum during delivery;
- abnormalities in blood clotting;
- hematoma; and
- uterine inversion, in which the mother’s uterus turns inside out during delivery.
Treatment for Postpartum Bleeding
The treatment required for internal bleeding after labor depends on the underlying cause. For uterine atony, packing the uterus can help put pressure on the woman’s blood vessels and help to slow bleeding. Additionally, uterine massage can help strengthen muscle tone, allowing the uterus to contract properly.
When lacerations or hematomas are involved, sutures and compression can often help stop the bleeding. Medications delivered intravenously can help slow blood loss, while IV fluids can help to replace lost blood. In some cases, blood transfusions may be necessary.
Bleeding Caused by Malpractice
If the attending physician neglects to identify a woman’s risk for internal bleeding after labor or fails to respond to the internal bleeding fast enough, the doctor could be held liable for the injuries and damages she suffers through a malpractice claim filed by a birth injury attorney.
Additionally, if the doctor physically caused the bleeding, through surgical errors or the use of instruments like forceps or vacuums, he or she could also be held liable. According to a 2009 report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the highest incidence of trauma to delivering mothers occurs when instruments are used.
A malpractice claim successfully filed by a birth injury attorney for child birth delivery issues could award the mother and her family compensation for medical bills, physical pain and suffering, lost income, loss of enjoyment of life and more.
In the event the mother dies as a result of the internal bleeding, her family may have grounds for a wrongful death claim, in which they can seek damages for funeral and burial expenses, lost income and benefits, loss of companionship and care and more, on her behalf.
Additionally, if the act of malpractice was particularly reckless or careless, the family may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are designed to punish the doctor or medical professional at fault for the injuries.
Getting Help from a Cleveland Birth Injury Attorney
Women who have experienced internal bleeding after childbirth because of a doctor’s negligence or error should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. They could have grounds for a malpractice claim and be due compensation for the damages they suffered. Victims are encouraged to contact the Becker Law Firm in Cleveland at (440) 252-4399 today about internal bleeding after labor.